Prepping a Home for Sale

by Karen Scovie, Staging Consultants

Preparing and staging your home for sale isn’t a new concept but has become a necessary step in the selling process in the current competitive market. The growing number of homes on the market gives buyers more choices and presents home sellers with the challenge to make their property stand out in the crowd.

The first step is to detach yourself from the way you live in the home and start thinking of it as a property you intend to sell to reach your goal of moving. Think of the process as you would if you were selling a car. When you’re ready to sell a car, you don’t think twice about clearing out your personal belongings, making repairs and cleaning it to look like new so buyers will perceive that it is and has always been well taken care of!

Buyers won’t buy if you can’t get them in the front door. Curb appeal is the first opportunity to make a good impression. Trees and shrubs should be free from dead limbs and neatly trimmed. If weather permits, grass should be green and planting beds freshly mulched. Approach the property as a buyer would from the curb to the front door and begin taking note of any noticeable maintenance issues.

As you find issues, keep three categories in mind; paint, repair, replace. Continue your list as you walk through the entire home and pay attention to where your eye travels.

Next‚ and it can’t be said enough, de-clutter, de-clutter and de-clutter some more. A good rule of thumb is to remove 50% of items in a room and then remove 50% of what’s left. Remove all family photos so buyers can see themselves living there instead of feeling as though they are trespassing in your space.

A good, deep cleaning is essential. Nobody wants to buy someone else’s old dirt. If replacing carpet isn’t in the budget, have them professionally cleaned along with windows and screens. Be sure to include appliances, cupboards and drawers because buyers will look inside to see what they are paying for.

Furniture placement is important for good flow so buyers can move easily throughout rooms. Remove unnecessary large pieces like a china hutch or sideboard. Sectionals can be broken up in to separate seating areas. If you were considering purchasing new furniture pieces for a new home, consider getting them now to dress up the home for sale.
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to brighten up a room. When choosing colors, be sure to enhance existing surfaces, like counter tops and flooring. Keep shades neutral and don’t skip existing trim. Glossy white trim is easy to keep clean, reflects light and highlights architectural features. Spending a little for test samples is a good investment so you can see the colors during daylight and night.

Look up. The easiest way to update a space is with new lighting. New lights can be less expensive than you might think and easy to install. Flush mounts can be purchased in contractor packs of 2, 4 or more so stay consistent with white, bronze or nickel finishes throughout the home. Lighting is the home’s jewelry so if a chandelier is on the list, don’t be afraid to splurge a little without getting to fancy or taste specific.
Potential buyers should walk away with a sense of there being little or no work to be done when they move in. Start planning early, set a budget and prioritize accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and relatives for help. Turn to the staging experts for direction, knowledge and support.

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